Vusi Nova has made a name for himself as one of the most soulful musicians in South Africa today. Many local celebrities have been open about the fact that they would love Vusi to perform at their weddings one day because of his delicate and emotional approach to his music.
In this week’s episode of The Insider SA, fans get an inside look at who Vusi Nova is as a person and what has shaped him to create the type of music he releases today. Born in 1984, and having grown up in Port Elizabeth’s New Brighton Township, Vusi has raked in accolades for several hit songs – namely ‘Thandiwe’, ‘Ndikuthandile’, and ‘Zungandithembi’ – among hit albums such as ‘Walk Into Light’ and ‘Did It For Love’.
Vusi’s life has been shaped by music. Speaking on where his journey began on The Insider SA this week, Vusi reminisces that “my early memories of music is actually sitting on my grandmother’s lap, in church, so I guess that’s where I picked up music from… It’s no mistake that I’m a musician today because I’ve always been surrounded by music.”
For Vusi, drawing on both his history and identity has been a powerful catalyst to success. Speaking on his music, Vusi reminisces that “If I think about it, my first album was in English, but people didn’t relate to that – but when I started signing in IsiXhosa, people related to my music – and I feel like I’m able to express myself more”.
To that effect, Vusi’s performances are brought to life in ways that meaningfully intersect with a profound sense of identity – from his songwriting to his on-stage persona. Vusi explains that “Whenever I put my outfit on, my traditional wear, something, even before I get on stage, happens to me – I can’t explain it, but I feel my ancestors are all around me.”
Despite innumerable successes in his own right, Vusi continues to innovate through meaningful collaborations. His latest hit, ‘Nomathemba’, features voices from his very own fans. “So ‘Nomathemba’, that was very much inspired by lockdown. I was at home, and I thought to myself, let me go to my fans on social media and see if they’ll help me sing and the amount of video clips we got back was humbling,” Vusi says. “The chorus was done by phone and in the video, we ended up featuring all the people who contributed to the song.”
Vusi’s successes have also been defined by strong partnerships and friendships. “Vusi and myself have probably worked together for about four years”, says Robin Walsh, audio engineer at Assegai Audio. “He has one of the most unique voices that I have ever heard in my life, and on top of that, his emotion when he delivers – he’s like nobody else; he pulls you into the song. Plus, he’s got this knack of writing such catchy stuff that people can relate to, and I think that’s what makes Vusi so special.”
With success behind his name and the prestigious Best Pop Album award from the South African Music Awards under his belt, Vusi shows no sign of stopping, nor slowing down his career or exciting new partnerships. “It’s definitely important to collaborate, as you get to learn more – and with my next album, I’ve already got three collaborations in the bag – so it’ll definitely be something I’ll carry on doing”, concludes Vusi.
Catch The Insider SA every Tuesday at 19h30 and the repeat every Saturday at 20h00 on SABC 3.